How to improve my FM radio reception, any solutions ?

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 22:33
ThreadID: 107551 Views:8521 Replies:6 FollowUps:2
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Hi everyone. I have a 1999 Landcruiser with a factory radio stereo, factory antenna. Is there a better antenna available for this stereo to achieve better reception ? I've been looking at the black whip type of antenna ? Then the Shark fin type antenna with a built in reception booster ? I've asked the staff at 3 stores that sell these antennas, and in my words they tried to baffle me with bullsh#t, and couldn't really explain to me the benefits from one to the other for my needs. Can I improve my current stereo system reception? Or, If I upgrade my whole stereo system, what do I upgrade to and why ? My friends new Camry picks up Melb FM stations 2 hours out of Melb ? What technology makes this possible ? Looking forward to your responses. Thank you.
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Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 22:43

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 22:43
Go to a wreckers of Isuzu Dmax utes and buy the little unit which is in the head lining bump just above the mirror, under the mid roof aerial. 2011 models and before.
Colouradoo by Oldhen may not use them at all since they cut corners more often than a race car.
It is a powered antennae amplifier and turns on with the power from the radio.
When fitted it will give better reception. ie, amplified signal to your radio.

Some radios millivolt sensitivity in the receiver section is quite poor. Fujitsu Ten are usually good and were excellent in older sets. Modern, well known sets, like Pioneer, Sony, and other popular units appear to concentrate on output power and "everything features" but are not built with distance reception as a primary feature.
AnswerID: 531548

Reply By: SDG - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 22:45

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 22:45
One thing I have noticed with mine, different vehicle but factory radio, is that when I start loosing reception if i touch the aerial, which is pillar mounted, reception is good again. Only thing I can think of is an earthing issue. Obviously I can't drive around with my hand out the window, so one day i'm going to look at that.
Could yours be a similar problem?
AnswerID: 531549

Reply By: The Bantam - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 23:04

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 23:04
Firstly reception quality and sensitivity varies greatly from radio to radio.....some of the modern radios are very good......if you have a 15 year old factory radio it might not be real flash.

A good aerial can make a hell of a lot of difference.
In the past and even currently, most car radio aerials are just a metal stick of no particular length or may even be optomised (yeh right ?) for the AM bands and as such they do not perform well and provide no gain.

If you can find an aerial that is actually cut specifically for the 88 to 108 Mhz band that may provide a significant improvement....Hell by some remote chance you may even find an aerial cut as a colinear that has some actual gain.

Then there are the amplified aerials.....many of the euopean cars have various aerials with preamplifiers in or attached to the aerial.....there is a limit to how much gain can be applied before the front end of the radio is overloaded....but even a few db of gain can make a big difference to marginal reception.

then there is aerial location....FM radio is getting up in frequency and is starting to behave in a line of sight manner......its not as much direct line of sight as UHF CB radio or near microwave frequencies some mobil phones use.....but starting to behave as near line of sight just the same .

SO aerial placement can make a big difference...if you have an aerial mounted on the mudguard, it will be disadvantaged compared to an aerial mounted high and clear on the roof.
A hell of a lot of modern cars now have the aerial mounted on the roof rather than the guard, as was normal a few years ago.

then there is the issue of a degraded strong signal areas an FM car radio will work with nothing more than a stub of a broken aerial or a badly degraded aerial...AM reception may be badly effected but FM will be just fine.

If you have a 1999 factory car stereo, it will almost certainly be a radio cassette, unless someone couged up the extra $$$ to get the CD player option.

It may be that even a modest modern radio CD unit will provide an improvement.

On the conservative side, just replacing the exsiting aerial with new one my yeild an improvement.

hope this helps.

AnswerID: 531550

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 23:18

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 23:18
Hi Bob,
The antenna fitted by the vehicle makers is really no more than a stiff wire, and never of the optimum length. I had the same problem as you and furthermore, passing scrub kept ripping the antenna off.
I solved both problems by purchasing a properly engineered antenna from Mobile One and mounted it on the roof of the Troopy. Mine is a M3WT model. Vast improvement.
If you go this way take heed of their recommendation that the antenna should be connected using a cable supplied by them. It does make a difference compared to the OEM cable.
If need be they will supply a connecting cable made up to your length specification. Good people to deal with.

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AnswerID: 531551

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 08:09

Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 08:09
X 2 for Mobile One aerials, Bob.

Been using them for about 20 years, and coupled to Toyota's radios(Fujitsu), they work well. Two lengths available, 900 & 1500 mm.

AXIS also make similar aerials.


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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 08:13

Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 08:13
The early 120 Prado's had horrible reception because the aerial was in or stuck on the back window. A new aerial improved the reception.

The newer Prado's have very good reception and I suspect they have incorporated a booster like the previous poster said.

I am looking at some wrecked ones to get the booster for my Focus. Its reception is terrible too.

Bill B

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Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 17:50

Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 17:50
I fitted a M3W from Mobile One after some advice from Exploroz years ago. At the time I was using standard toyota factory radio (complete with tape player).
I found it improved reception, usually bridging the gap between regional towns transmitting FM.
I've not broken it off yet, touch wood.

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AnswerID: 531591

Reply By: Bob W5 - Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 22:14

Thursday, May 01, 2014 at 22:14
Hi again, and thank you all very much for your replys. I'll contact Mobile One and sort out my niggle. Cheers.
AnswerID: 531611

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